Hi! I'm Guy Raz, longtime podcaster and recent author. I created the How I Built This podcast at NPR four years ago to share the incredible journeys that entrepreneurs take, and to inspire others to consider such a journey for themselves. I wrote a book pulling together the wisdom from these interviews, and it's out now: "How I Built This". I'm so excited to share it with you! You might also know me from my other shows Wisdom from the Top, or Wow in the World. But I'm not just a host and an author. I'm a dad! And I make my own kombucha! Ask me anything. "How I Built This" book: https://guyraz.com/

Proof: https://i.redd.it/tyzrh5294dn51.jpg

Comments: 122 • Responses: 34  • Date: 

Affectionate_Bee364120 karma

You’re an amazing show host!

Who is one person, entrepreneur or otherwise, you’ve interviewed, that you feel is most similar to yourself, and why?

If you were to create a startup business what would you sell?

What is one question you wish you had asked during an interview, but didn’t?

theguyraz16 karma

Thank you! 1) most similar? Jamie Siminoff of Ring 2) I'd sell natural eczema cream (my wife has a great recipe!) 3) hope it doesn't sound arrogant but I really do ask all the questions (in general) that I want to ask...interviews are much longer than what is actually aired on podcast

armmen27 karma

Guy, you’re a great journalist and podcaster. Did you always picture yourself doing this when you were younger? How did you find a path to do something awesome and that you love?

theguyraz11 karma

like a lot of people...I wanted to contribute something to the world in my own small way...I think a lot of people want to do that as well. It doesn't have to be huge...it can be making a contribution to someone's life that is meaningful. And so for me...making a contribution was to become a journalist...to tell stories of peoples lives that would (hopefully) build empathy in the minds of those who listened to those stories. I never had a grand plan for my career except one rule: I decided early on that SUCCESS for me did not mean money or fame or prestige. It meant having an interesting life with interesting experiences and encounters and conversations.

Acctgirl837 karma

Out of all of the entrepreneurs you've interviewed and companies you've researched,

  • Which product/idea was the silliest/dumbest that was executed brilliantly?
  • Which product/idea was amazing that was executed extremely poorly?

theguyraz17 karma

1) Edible Arrangements. Who would've thought the idea to cut up fruit into flower shapes and deliver them in a bouquet would work? No one...except for Tariq Farid who turned it into a 500 million $ business 2) Glitch...the game Stewart Butterfield created. IT failed. But what succeeded was the internal messaging system his team built in order to develop Glitch. That system became SLACK and the rest is history

madamerobinson6 karma

Hi Guy, big fan of HIBT. I've always wondered how polite are you really regarding the layer of arrogance these CEOs must have to get where they are, any stories about it? No need to name names.

theguyraz14 karma

We really work hard to screen for kindness. Obviously not every founder is perfect. that's impossible...but in general...of the 250+ founders we've had on the show...we really do a lot of homework ahead of time to make sure we are showcasing the BEST of entrepreneurship and not the worst

avideno6 karma

Huge fan of HIBT, here! I’ve always been curious; Have you ever /really/ not clicked with someone you’re interviewing? You always keep it so professional and up-beat, it’s really hard to tell! 😅

theguyraz7 karma

i interview people for 3, sometimes 4 hours...there's no way of getting around it but after being in an intense conversation with someone that long...its hard not to feel like you know them and understand them...

sometimes there's tension at the beginning...especially because people aren't used to my style of interviewing...but usually within the first 30 mins or so...that passes

xaviervel6 karma

I love your show “How I Built This” I’ve noticed that rarely somebody from the medical field will be in the show, is that a true perception? And if so, any particular reason? I’m asking this because, even though I’m a clinician, I also have an “itch” to start something new, something of my own, however it has been hard to find examples of people with this particular “demographic”

theguyraz8 karma

we just did an episode with a former MD, Oliver Kharraz, founder of ZocDoc. Also we've had PhD researchers (Pat Brown of Impossible Foods)

zachscohan5 karma

What advice would you give to an upcoming musician/ recording artist during this time?

theguyraz7 karma

Tik Tok. Its the new most powerful record label on earth

jw33335 karma

I love the theme music. Is there an interesting back story to it? Also love the “How You Built That” segment. Will it be back soon?

theguyraz4 karma

1) thank you. Ramtin Arablouei (host of Throughline) is an incredible composer/musician. I told him I wanted a song inspired by "Gamma Ray" by Beck. I love the propulsive energy of that song. And if you listen to the HIBT theme song closely..you will hear similarities to Gamma Ray 2) With COVID...and lockdowns...and remote work...our team is stretched. So we are taking a hiatus from How u Built That. But instead we tripled the # of new episodes with the REsilience series

MsPubberT5 karma

Do you have advice for people who are sick of their jobs, and want to do something new - but aren't sure what to do? And would you advise starting something new now (in this pandemic/election timing) or wait until next fall if possible?

theguyraz12 karma

1) keep your day job 2) work your side hustle at night and on weekends (research, research research, talk to people, call random folks, write a plan etc) 3) start it NOW. This is a LOW point. It will force u to be resourceful and scrappy. And if you can build the foundation for a business in the middle of an economic crisis...you will build the kind of resilience every business dreams of...because if you can make it through this in tact...you will be able to handle anything

kuenstler5 karma

If you didn't become a journalist/podcaster, what career path would you have chosen?

theguyraz8 karma

probably something in public policy (boring I know)

squid50s4 karma

I love ”How I Built This”! On average, how many hours of research do you do in preparation for an interview?

theguyraz7 karma

depends but at minimum, I will spend 4-5 hours reading everything I can about the person. But often much much longer.

jonny803 karma

Sorry, another question. Is it actually possible, in your opinion, to properly balance starting a successful business and dedicate proper time to the family?

theguyraz7 karma

Yes. In fact, prioritizing family forces you to be even more efficient with your work

sharkbait4303 karma

Will you marry Jeff?

theguyraz2 karma

I'm married

gimmie100K2 karma

I recently listened to your interview with Gary Vee. You talk about taking a leap of faith with TED Radio Hour.

What advice would you give for taking leaps of faith?

Do you wish you would have done something on your own earlier?

Big fan btw, I still remember episode 1 of HIBT. I think my favorite episode is Ring though. His story gets me.

theguyraz2 karma

1) I talk about this in chapter 2 of my book: Dangerous versus Scary. Don't do dangerous things...do scary things 2) not really because I needed to go through the different phases of my career to learn and have the confidence to try the things I do now

love the story of Ring...so good right?

drewseph-stalin2 karma

Hey Guy, huge fan of yours - currently reading your book and loving it! Two questions:

Who do you want to interview the most that you haven’t already got on schedule?

Are you ever afraid of offending any of the guests with certain questions or do they confirm what they’re comfortable answering beforehand?

theguyraz6 karma

1) I'd love to interview Jay-Z. We've approached him in the past...probably should try again 2) never worried about offending. We have 1 condition for any guest who agrees to appear on the show: no conditions.

ohmygoat54832 karma

Hi Guy! I’m a huge fan and longtime listener of HIBT 😄 I’m applying for college now & I’m interested in getting involved in radio/podcasts.

My question is: what was your background/journey to becoming a host on NPR. What did you study in college to get you interested in journalism and to prepare you for this job?

theguyraz4 karma

1) I came to NPR as an intern in 1997 2) I was on the student newspaper in college and high school 3) I did not study journalism or broadcasting. I studied history. That's been much more useful to me as a journalist than any other topic I studied

TradBrahUSA2 karma

I really enjoyed your recent podcast with with Tim Ferriss. Can you talk more about your mental health practices - how do you personally manage stress and anxiety?

theguyraz2 karma

1) force myself to exercise every day (even when I'm feeling low) 2) talk about it. I find that it helps to be open

mrRandomGuy022 karma

From the entrepreneurs you’ve interviewed, who was the oldest when they got started on their idea? Where there many pros/cons of starting later in life? Where there any who’ve repeated their success in new businesses?

theguyraz6 karma

Bob Moore of Bob's Red Mill. He was in his mid-50s, broke and studying at a seminary outside Portland to become a pastor. Bought an old dilapidated mill (it was red!) and started milling flour.

I think there were LOTS of pros...he had 55 years of wisdom to help him navigate the craziness of starting a business and dealing with the incredible highs and low lows (like when the mill burned down in a fire and he had to start over)

Poobeard762 karma

Who do you think would win in a fight? One 20-foot-tall Steve Inskeep vs. 20 1-foot-tall Audie Cornishes?

theguyraz5 karma

tough call. I think they'd both decide not to fight and actually convene a potluck dinner with all your favorite NPR personalities.

elrumo2 karma

You have interviewed entrepreneurs from all different age groups who started business in very different times, how do you think the attitude, personal traits (or that something that makes an entrepreneur succeed) in founders has changed over the years?

theguyraz4 karma

I think a big part of it is that in recent years, we (our society) has built better awareness around entrepreneurship and that has had a huge impact on how we talk and think about it. But I don't think the traits have changed...and I think those traits are largely LEARNED...for example...the ability to withstand rejection, It can be learned...it requires exposure to rejection (like being a sales rep and hearing no again and again)

TomTom25362 karma

Apart from in-episode ads, what are other ways you're able to monetize the podcast?

theguyraz7 karma

live shows, conferences, educational material, etc. But HIBT is truly about mission first. Obviously we NEED to be sustainable but it is a FREE show with (we hope) FREE educational content that is also inspiring and useful and practical for folks looking for that wisdom. If you were to go to biz school, you'd have to pay thousands of dollars for access to case studies. We offer it for free

Chtorrr2 karma

What is the very best cheese?

theguyraz3 karma

Rush Creek Reserve is pretty great

jonny802 karma

I really enjoy your podcast, and I believe you are a crucial point of making it so great. My question is - after interviewing so many entrepreneurs have you noticed any common traits and do you think you have to be born with those traits or can you development them?

theguyraz5 karma

Some entrepreneurs are born that way (Mark Cuban for example) But most are not. Most LEARN the traits and skills it takes to become an entrepreneur. Adam Lowry of Method Soap is introverted, cerebral, etc...but an incredible entrepreneur who LEARNED how to do it by partnering with his more (extroverted) friend Eric Ryan.

There are thousands more examples like these but the most important trait is the ability to withstand rejection. here's something I've written about it: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/what-mormon-missionaries-can-teach-us-guy-raz/

stefurnie2 karma

Aside from the podcast you host/produce, what are your other favorite podcasts?

theguyraz3 karma

Planet money Throughline Code Switch It's Been a Minute

mhorder1 karma

Hey, I am a big fan of your podcast! Two questions. Do you think it is possible to start a company without luck? Also what is your favorite failure from someone you interviewed?

theguyraz1 karma

1) luck, hard work and privilege are all factors... 2) too many to name but loved the stories in our Classpass episode. Payal Kadakia is super inspiring and talks about how so many of their models failed until they got to a plan that actually worked!

TomTom25361 karma

In your new book (which is amazing!), you talk about the shelf life of every idea and the need to act quickly. Is there an entrepreneural idea you've had that just sat for too long and couldn't be used?

theguyraz3 karma

selling my baseball card collection. shouldve done it in the mid-1980s during the baseball card bubble.

katalinaisland1 karma

Hi Guy! What’s your favorite book and/or movie?!

theguyraz3 karma

Movie: Wings of Desire Book: changes a lot but I love Atonement. The writing is beautiful

Acctgirl831 karma

Are there any entrepreneurs you want on your show badly but they will not agree to be interviewed?

theguyraz5 karma

We don't spend too much time chasing folks who don't want to be on...we get about 1000 pitches a week and we can only do 45 new full length episodes a year. We only want people on who want to be on

hoof_chum1 karma

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start their own podcast?

theguyraz3 karma

dont worry about the size of your audience.

wowcoolsick1 karma

How did you balance family life when you were doing military correspondence as a reporter? Like when you were always travelling and flying everywhere?

theguyraz2 karma

it was before I had a family

gimmie100K1 karma

What is your biggest regret in life, if any?

theguyraz3 karma

not having more kids earlier

Stunning_Country58061 karma

How to be a good podcast host? And grow your listener base?

theguyraz3 karma

focus on making content that is value-added for people.

PrinceGregorio1 karma

How did you become one of the most successful podcast hosts? Did you put a lot of effort and hard work into it, or did you just meet the right people at the right time? I’m asking because I’ve been trying to work hard at what I do, but also sometimes Im just tempted to lie down and sleep and let the chips fall where they may.

theguyraz2 karma

its like any skill. I've been standing at the free throw line for 23 years (started out as a radio reporter in my early 20s) I've attempted hundreds of thousands shots at that basket over the years. At the beginning, I missed most of them. It took me a LONG LONG time of trying hard and failing and sometimes getting small wins before I was able to sink a lot more baskets. (Go Lakers!!)

VenuesNMore1 karma

Hi Guy!

Huge fan here! I love the podcast and strive to ask such insightful questions as you do. Any advice for aspiring/new podcast hosts?

theguyraz2 karma

Listen actively to your guest. And practice...there's no "right" way..you will find your voice the more you do it